Underestimating Ironman New Zealand. DOH!


Something is wrong.

I feel underwhelmed by the prospect of doing Ironman New Zealand. This goal should inspire me – something new usually does – but for some reason it hasn’t.

Well, it has motivated me to train a little bit more but it hasn’t intimidated me and got me nervous. You know that feeling when you have to stand up in front of a group of people to make a speech? Or you have a job interview? I know it is still seven months away but I want to be able to tap into that nervous energy – to use it to motivate me and drive me. Perhaps I need to do more research into the race. I could read up on how an Ironman transition works or read last years race book and look at the course map. Surely imagining how the race might go would give me some butterflies.

Why do I think it is not going to be challenging? Probably because I’ve done a half ironman, and I’m imagining that a full ironman, at a slower pace, will be just like a longer training day. But the half ironman almost killed me – I was a wreck for the next half hour. Same again with the only half-marathon I’ve done. A full ironman is a big task. It should strike fear into me. I seem to be more fearful of intensity than duration. Perhaps I need to try a 12+hr ride? Surely that’d tell me something!

Yesterday I struggled(!) through an 80km easy ride and I backed that up today with a painful 10km run. I am a LONG way from being able to go 180/42.2 back-to-back! In a way, I’d like to be able to attempt an Ironman (in training) every month between now and March so I can:

  1. See how far short of achieving the goal I am, and
  2. Watch myself get closer to the goal as I get fitter.

If I had a key 10km race, I’d do regular 10km runs and (hope to) watch the times come down. But obviously doing the full ironman distance in training would wreck me, and stop me training consistently (BAD!).

Maybe I need to do some kind of regular Ironman test though? Should it be a fixed distance every month, or an increasing distance as I get fitter? Should I do it Joe Friel stylze with a break between each discipline. eg. swim-brekkie-ride-lunch-run? I could go 4-100-20, then 4-120-22, 4-140-24, 4-160-26, 4-180-28, 4-200-30. Hmm the first in that sequence is LONGER than a half ironman! Reality check!!

Standard wisdom is that you do a couple of half ironman simulations (2-90-21.1) at ironman pace. The first about 8-9 weeks out from the race and the second about 4 weeks out. Perhaps I will do those, but also add a couple of slow 4-140-20s at 12 weeks and 16 weeks (with breaks between disciplines, possibly even over two days).

Anyone else get the feeling I’m going to do something very STUPID and learn a VALUABLE lesson? DOH!


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2 Responses to Underestimating Ironman New Zealand. DOH!

  1. Russ Cox says:

    You’ve got 7 months so I wouldn’t stress yourself too much now. In fact for the next 2 or 3 months I’d get into a sustainable routine of moderate training. Just get used to regular training, work a little on distance, but don’t overdo pace, intensity or distance. In fact I’d say no speedwork in anything!

    You’ll then be fit enough that the 4 months to the Ironman will give you plenty of time to start pushing a little more and using test sets. Fitness and peak fitness comes over time, don’t rush it or risk burn out physically and mentally.

    • jontsnz says:

      Cheers Russ. That sounds so….so….sensible! I’m finding it quite hard to stick with the steady, no intensity stuff. As you get fitter, the temptation comes to push a bit more and a bit more. It’s a lot easier to talk about than do (or not do, more to the point)! “Patience, Obi Wan”

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